Date of Award

Spring 3-28-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Nursing




Judith Lothian, PhD

Committee Member

Munira Wells, PhD

Committee Member

Marcia Gardner, PhD


Breast Cancer Journey, Types of Support Required, Specific Support Needed, Importance of Group Support, Changing Support Needs of Women with Breast Cancer


An estimated 331,530 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 ("American Cancer Society," 2019, p. 10). The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological, descriptive study was to explore the lived experience of non-spousal close/intimate relationships of women with breast cancer. There are very few studies in the literature examining relationships between women with cancer other than those of partner or spouse. This study’s participants consisted of six women, ages 32 to 68. Analysis of these data identified themes reflected along their breast cancer trajectory (1) The journey starts (2) Mid-journey passage, and (3) Journeys end/coming home, as well as nine subthemes. Findings of this study suggest support offered by non-spousal close/intimate individuals is a dynamic provision, by diverse support systems that change over time throughout the breast cancer continuum. Assessment of support required by women with breast cancer is especially important at the beginning of the breast cancer journey but then again at various intervals, for a holistic approach and provision of functional and structural support so desperately needed by women with breast cancer.

Included in

Nursing Commons